Northern Nevada craft breweries, distilleries look to more growth in 2018
By the numbers
37: Number of craft breweries across Nevada
21: Number of those craft breweries that operate in Northern Nevada
52,828: Barrels of craft beer produced annually across Nevada
$434 million: Annual economic impact of craft breweries in Nevada
Source: Brewers Association; visit http://www.brewersassociation.org
Craft breweries have expanded their footprint not only across the Silver State, but perhaps more so in the Northern Nevada region, and from all indications, the trends and demand for locally sourced craft beer will help the brewers continue to grow moving into 2018.
According to data from the Brewers Association, a national nonprofit trade association, there are 37 craft breweries across Nevada, and 21 of them call this region their home. That’s more than double the amount of breweries that were operating in Northern Nevada during 2010.
The data also shows that 52,828 barrels of craft beer are produced throughout the entire state, and the industry contributes $434 million toward Nevada’s economy. That economic impact may increase in the coming years because of actions taken by the Nevada Legislature during the 2017 session.
Gov. Brian Sandoval signed two bills revising provisions in the beer and distillery industries that increases the cap on barrels produced from 15,000 to 40,000 per year for each company. The new law also allows a person to operate more than one brewpub in Nevada. In the past, brewers could operate only one pub in one county.
With exponential growth of new breweries and the expansion of existing ones in the region, how has the proliferation of breweries affected the industry?
“From what we can tell, at this point, it is helping to have more breweries and more high quality breweries,” said Matt Johnson, owner of IMBIB Custom Brews and acting president of the Nevada Craft Brewers Association, a trade association for craft brewers in Nevada. “We have seen this in other beer towns like Bend and Portland and different places in Colorado that truly all ships will rise. So if we can establish Reno as a craft beer town, we’ll all do better because far more tourism will be coming here for that purpose.”
Johnson did say, however, that the region is right on the edge of becoming too saturated when it comes to the amount of breweries operating locally and that competition may become stiffer moving forward.
Business is booming, which has led to out-of-state expansion for some.
Sparks-based Revision Brewing Company, which opened eight months ago, is already distributing its craft beer to nine states and is looking to expand to five other states within the next 90 days.
Not only are they selling to other states across the country, they are doing dealings with businesses from Australia and are about to launch in nine more countries.
Revision’s business model focuses more on distribution while trying not to oversaturate any given market with its beer to keep it as fresh as possible. The brewery does have a taproom where locals can visit to sample and purchase its beer.
Jeremy Warren, CEO of Revision Brewing Company, said though his brewery focuses more on its large distribution footprint, he takes pride in knowing that his Nevada-made product is being distributed far and wide and is helping boost the region’s reputation as a craft beer destination.
“Craft beer is growing here, and with the camaraderie between different breweries and different pubs in the market, I would have to say that I’m really excited for the industry,” Warren said. “This craft beer movement will expand over the next five years, and I think more people are going to be coming to Reno and Sparks for craft beer. They are already doing it, but people will start to come here similar to how they would jump on an airplane to go to San Diego or Portland.”
While Revision focuses on its distribution, across town, Mill Street Still and Brew in Reno is focused on perfecting its beer through scientific methods.
The brewery and distillery, which opened this past summer, precision crafts its beer and vacuum distills its vodka. Because the brewers mimic the pressure of space when distilling vodka and crafting beer, they can be boiled at lower temperatures.
The high standards of Mill Street’s brewing and distilling manufacturing equipment is on the level of jet fuel refineries. The company’s equipment was built by the owners who have a background in engineering.
Mill Street Still and Brewery offers at least 9-12 beers it brews at any given time, four of which are already distributed to local bars, restaurants and stores.
James Buda, vice president of sales and marketing, says that Mill Street is happy with the direction it’s headed since opening its doors on July 1, 2017. The up-and-coming brewery already has 25 accounts for distribution and is looking to launch its line of gin by February to accompany the thousands of cases of beer and vodka it has already produced.
Heather Ashbridge, who started with Nevada State Development Corporation in 2008, previously served in several roles with the organization, including assistant vice president and loan officer. She is based in NSDC’s Reno office.